Sharon Urges Abbas to Seek Cease-Fire First

(Jerusalem Post) Herb Keinon - Prime Minister Sharon told visiting U.S. Senator John Kerry Monday that Mahmoud Abbas "will be tested by the manner in which he fights terrorism and works to dismantle its infrastructure....A cease-fire is an internal Palestinian issue that Israel has no part in, but if there is quiet, as a first step, Israel's response would be quiet." Sharon said, "the main thing is to focus on what the Palestinians are doing vis-a-vis terrorism. The Palestinians are still not fighting terrorism and Abu Mazen's statements during the election campaign were not encouraging, but he will be tested by his actions after the elections." Sharon said Israel is willing to revive security cooperation with the Palestinians, and will be ready to coordinate various issues in the framework of the disengagement plan. A meeting between Sharon and Abbas is widely expected within the next two weeks. Sharon's office has stressed that any discussions with Abbas at this stage will be security related, and not constitute any type of negotiations. Sharon has said on numerous occasions that he will not sit down and negotiate with the Palestinians until they fulfill their initial requirements under the road map, first and foremost the dismantling of the terror organizations. During the meeting, Kerry asked Sharon about the unauthorized settlement outposts, and when they would be removed. Sharon replied that this step is made politically very difficult by continued Palestinian Kassam attacks, and that it would be easier to dismantle the settlements were the Palestinians taking steps to stop attacks on Israel.

2005-01-11 00:00:00

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